Every year millions of people suffer from work injuries that could’ve been avoided. Although there are literally thousands of ways to get injured at the workplace, depending on the profession and job position, the following 5 on-the-job injuries areby far the most common:
1. Slip and Fall
About 10 million slip and fall accidents happen every year, accounting for about 20% of all worker’s compensation claims, and leading to approximately 95 million lost work days. Despite all of the precautions taken by employers, slip and falls are still amongst the most common type of on-the-job injury. To minimize your chances of “falling” victim to a slip and fall, wear slip-resistant shoes, heed wet-floor/under construction signs, and be aware of your surroundings and the actions of your co-workers.
2. Automobile Accidents
Delivery drivers, tour guides, cabbies and other workers in the transport industry face a high risk of auto accidents. Although most involve a rear-end collision or fender-bender, a significant portion of on-the-job auto accidents are much more serious and result in moderate to severe injuries.
Avoiding an automobile accident isn’t always easy because it is impossible to control the actions of another irresponsible or unskilled driver. However, you can reduce the likelihood of sustaining a severe injury by up to 50% simply by wearing your seatbelt and keeping 1 car-length’s distance for every 10 MPH. So for example, if you’re travelling at 50 MPH you should try to keep at least 5 car lengths between you and the next vehicle.
3. Slipped Discs, Strains, and Other Lower Back Problems
It is estimated that at least 1 million workers sustain on-the-job back injuries each year, and approximately 25% of all compensation claims involve some type of back injury. Injuries that affect the spine are particularly disabling and painful, and can therefore cause the employee to miss work or forfeit their position altogether.
The best way to avoid any type of back injury is to minimize prolonged strain and practice proper procedure when lifting, transporting, holding, and placing any item. Employ stretches and core exercises to keep your supportive muscles strong and flexible. Visit a doctor and take adequate rest at the earliest sign of any back problems, as failure to facilitate initial healing could lead to unnecessary chronic pain in the long-term.
4. Repetitive Strain Injuries
A repetitive strain injury (RSI) occurs when a part of the body is overused or misused for an extended period of time. The most common type of RSI is carpal tunnel syndrome — a condition that commonly affects typists and machinery operators, and causes painful tendon and joint pain that can either decrease flexibility or disable movement in the affected area during acute flare-ups. RSIs are responsible for about $20 billion worth of worker’s compensation claims every year.
To avoid an RSI you need to utilize ergonomics; there are specially designed chairs, desks, and keyboard/mouse combinations that can help in this department. It is also essential to practice proper typing technique and stature, take at least 1-2 breaks per hour, and avoid staying in a stagnant position for longer than 1 hour. Even if you just step away from the keyboard for 5 minutes here the extra movement will help promote blood flow and keep your joints mobilized.
5. Machinery Misuse and Malfunction
Although the majority of accidents that occur during machine operation are caused by human negligence/misuse, a small percentage of them are caused by a malfunction. Factory workers, utility vehicle/tractor operators, carpenters, mechanics, hardware store workers, and farmers are amongst the high-risk group for this type of accident.
To avoid being injured while operating any machinery it is imperative that you closely follow usage instructions and guidelines. Never operate machinery while intoxicated or under the influence of prescription narcotics. Wear appropriate safety gear, use the right equipment, and pay close attention to how the machine is operating, as well as your surroundings and the actions of those around you.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Diseases_and_Other_M_g287-Hand_Being_Bandaged_As_Injury_p53919.html
Written by Juliana Massey, a personal injury specialist and part-time blogger who is currently collaborating with ClearLawOnline.